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The impending release of the first Hobbit film has me remembering my trip to New Zealand in 2005. The trip holds a number of very special memories for me. One in particular which always stands out is when I visited a farm near Matamata on the north Island. This was not just any farm, though. It was Hobbiton. The Hobbiton. The farm on which Peter Jackson brought to life the magic and wonder of J.R.R Tolkein’s Shire. I was thrilled to be there. I visited Bagend (Bilbo’s house) and danced under the Party Tree, where Bilbo’s birthday party was held. I saw the lake that Gandalf’s dragon rocket, set off by Merry and Pippin, flew over. Every time I watch the films now, I cannot contain myself. I have to announce “I have been there!”

This farm would have remained completely unheard of if not for the Lord of the Rings films. It is amazing to think that a successful film can really put a place on the map, for a short time or forever. Everyone now knows of Phi Phi Island, off the coast of Thailand, as “the beach where The Beach was shot”, and people flock there to be like Leonardo DiCaprio. I thought about it and realized there are a few films which have had a similar impact on Australia. Perhaps not to the extent we see in Hobbiton, but films have served to expose the beauty of parts of Australia to the world. Here are a few films I thought of which showed the world how great regional Australia is.


This is constantly considered one of the best Australian films ever. It is certainly one of the most successful. Talk to many film fans and they will tell you it was filmed in England. This is a fair assumption- characters speak with English accents and the perpetual drizzly weather and weak sunlight of rural England are capture perfectly. In fact, this film was made in Robertson, in northern NSW. Babe proves that Australia is not all desert and beaches. We have beautifully lush pasture which makes a perfect substitute for the British countryside.


Love it or hate it, this film showed off its namesake, big time. Baz Luhrmann, the film’s director, is renowned for dramatic shots and panoramic filming (think Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge). He used this skill to great effect in Australia. This film showed the Australia that so many people know- the outback, desert landscapes where only the toughest survived- and it showed them well. The cinematography is beautiful and the landscape really plays a role in the film.

December Boys

Everyone knows Australia has some beautiful beaches. A lot of people forget how dramatic our coastline is in general. December Boys makes it pretty hard to forget. Filming on Kangaroo Island and using the Remarkable Rocks in the Flinders Chase National Park as a backdrop for many scenes, this film showcases the Australian coastline brilliantly. Being the second non-Harry Potter film for Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, could you expect anything less than a beautifully shot film?

Can you think of any more films that show off regional Australia? There are so many!

Published: Dec 8, 2010 4:48pm by cbere.

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  • Australia

    I was disapointed by the film “Australia”. The only novelty was the bombing of Darwin.
    Besides that, I had seen it done better before by Australia television.

    Not a fan of Baz Luhrmann. I could never get into that film “Moulin Rouge”. He is one of those arty film makers who think photography and costums are more important than telling the story.

    Published Dec 10, 2010 11:18pm by

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